Locks through the time

Locking buildings and containers to protect people and property is not a new concept – even ancient stilt-house dwellers used locks. Over the millennia a huge number of structures and forms have been developed. Kaba’s in-house museum in Rümlang (Switzerland) provides a fascinating selection of locks through the ages.

 Egyptian drop-latch lock (replica)
Egyptian drop-latch lock (replica)Egyptians protected their burial chambers and corn stores with drop-latch locks as long as 5000 years ago. Today’s lock cylinders are essentially based on the same principal.
Door lock, 1640.
Door lock, 1640This door lock was installed in South Tirol in 1640. The lock case and tumblers are made of chestnut wood.
17th century door lock
17th century door lockThis is a door lock from the 17th century. It is made of a solid lock case with two spring latches and a night latch, as well as an ornamental, embossed lock plate.
Bramah lock
Bramah lockThe Bramah lock was developed and patented in 1874 by Englishman Joseph Bramah.
Chubb lock
Chubb lockEnglishman Jeremiah Chubb invented this lock and had it patented in 1818.
Bauer lock
Bauer lockCompany founder Franz Bauer filed a patent for this security lock in Switzerland in 1878.
Perfektor lock
Perfektor lockThe Perfektor lock was invented by Kaba’s head of production Fritz Schori and patented in about 1930.
Kaba 8
Kaba 8Kaba 8 was the world’s first cylinder lock with two rows of tumblers and a reversible key. It was invented and patented by head of production Fritz Schori in 1934.
Kaba 20
Kaba 20This cylinder lock, with four rows of tumblers, was patented in 1966. There is such a large number of possible permutations that locking systems with more than 10,000 cylinder locks can be created.
Kaba star
Kaba starKaba star, a cylinder lock patented in 1978, has at least five rows of tumblers. The manufacturing process and form are so complex that unauthorized duplication of keys is practically impossible.
Kaba Nova
Kaba NovaKaba Nova was the world’s first mechatronic cylinder lock, patented in 1984. If keys are lost or stolen, the locks/keys can be reprogrammed, so they do not have to be replaced.
Digital locking cylinder
Digital locking cylinderWith this type of cylinder, electronic lock components check authorizations via an RFID chip integrated into the access medium (badge, etc.); the locking mechanism itself is based on the same principle as Kaba star.